Web extra: County clerks like Webcasting

Technology saves time and makes process of taking minutes and responding to requests easier

Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

Webcasting takes a huge load off city and county clerks, who are the employees responsible for taking minutes and replying to requests for information. Tom Spengler, chief executive officer at media service provider Granicus, said 90 percent of the company's users are clerks.

“Instead of putting on headphones to listen to a transcription on scratchy 90-minute tapes with earphones and a foot pedal, I’ve already created [the draft minutes] live during the meeting,” said Beth Purcell, clerk of the Board of Commissioners in Onslow County, N.C.

Without Granicus, a four-hour hearing would easily require eight to 12 hours of transcription, she said. By using Granicus, Purcell’ finishes her work when the meeting is adjourned.

She types an agenda before the meeting using Microsoft Word and uses the Granicus software during the meeting to take roll and record votes and other official actions. Viewers can go into the Onslow County Web site and watch the live meeting.

For recordkeeping, Purcell time-stamps the beginning of each agenda item with the software, which is connected to a live video encoder throughout the meeting. “It’s almost made local celebrities of our department heads,” Purcell said.

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